Information Compiled by Rick Simi and Warren Friedrich
|The coveted "Blue Fish's"|
To begin , we need to present information from a Supreme Court ruling in October 1866. A man named Benjamin F. Fish of San Francisco in 1855 “invented, manufactured and made an article for the restoring and strengthening of the human hair, to be used upon the head and hair, and gave it the name by which it was and is known, of ‘Fish’s Infallible Hair Restorative’.”
|The first ad for the Fish's product by N. Mills 1858|
|July 28, 1861 ad Mills sell Fish's to C.R. Story|
|The first documented ad for the Fish's|
product in a glass bottle
The first advertisement that mentions the Fish's Infallible Hair Restorative product being put up in a bottle is from C.R. Story in October of 1861. The advertisement on the left states it is put up in pint bottles.
I believe this was an unembossed paper labeled bottle.
|Redington and Co. Advertisement|
The fourth major player in the Fish’s saga is John H. Redington, a San Francisco wholesale druggist and importer of drugs, medicines, etc. (Redington and Co. and C. L. Story and Co. were in partnership in this trade in 1851). The first advertisement found for Fish’s Hair Restorative by Redington and Co. first appeared in the San Jose Mercury newspaper on April 10th, 1862 and sold by local druggists Hewson and Johnson.
This is still the unembossed paper labeled bottle
On April 6th, 1863 this advertisement appeared in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin newspaper. Benjamin Fish cautions the public that the genuine article is put up in square bottles with the name “B. F. Fish – Fish’s Hair Restorative – San Francisco” blown in the bottles.
This is the first advertisement for the embossed Fish's Hair Restorative placed on May 2, 1863. This is the rectangular bottle that comes in aqua and clear glass and has, in the past, been credited to a western glass works.
According to Warren Friedrich in his book
Early GlassWorks of California " The Pacific glassworks was not producing bottles until June 16th 1863 in California ". From the extensive research that Warren and I have done I am comfortable saying the first embossed B.F. Fish glassed product was blown in the east from an eastern made mold.
|The first embossed Fish bottle "FISH'S HAIR RESTORATIVE / B.F.FISH / SAN FRANCISCO|
The advertisement to the left is the last and most important advertisement that was found and describes the new bottle Redington has manufactured for the Fish product. It was placed in the Sacramento Daily Union newspaper on November 24th 1864 and informs the public that from that date on Fish's Infallible Hair Restorative "will be put up in round blue pint bottles"
The mold for the blue Fish's was manufactured by the same mold maker that produced the mold for the aqua rectangular B.F. Fish bottle. Both the font style and the distinctive apostrophe shaped like a seven ( 7) appear on all three of the embossed Fish bottles. The distinctive seven also appears on the eastern blown Risley's and Rush's.
Several other factors weigh in favor of all of the Fish bottles being blown in the east including the fact that San Francisco Glass Works was not in operation during the period the blue Fish's was blown.
It's remotely possible that the blue bottle may have been blown at Pacific Glass Works, there's just no evidence to absolutely say for sure that it was not. However there is absolute proof that the rectangular Fish's bottle was blown back East prior to PGW's start-up. That bottle and the blue bottle were made by a pattern /mould maker in the East. Several other eastern meds exhibit the same characteristic letter style, including periods, font style, etc.
Even though I'm not a betting man, I would put money down that all of the Fish's Infallible Hair Restorative bottles were blown in a eastern glass house.